The percentage of births to unmarried women has increased markedly in recent years. Births outside of marriage have many disadvantages, especially to the children. Children who are born to unmarried parents are more likely to live in poverty and to have poor developmental outcomes (1). The mothers often lack networks to support them during their pregnancy when spiritual counseling, medical care, emotional care, and financial assistance are essential. Sometimes they think abortion is their only option.
I am the owner of a family law firm in Smith County. It saddens me when mothers seek my assistance just days after giving birth because CPS has taken their children. Having a child placed “in the system” is extremely detrimental to both the mother and the child. The mothers have the emotional and financial stress right after birth of dealing with CPS, which is a nightmare. Often the mothers lack the financial resources needed to get their children back. Fighting CPS is difficult and expensive. The children are placed with a family who may be taking in foster children simply for added income to their family. If the mother’s rights are terminated and the child has any medical issues and/or handicaps, the child may be difficult to place for adoption. As such, that child may be in the system for the rest of their childhood and possibly be placed in multiple different homes.
Had these mothers had the support and guidance of The Magdalene Home, there would have been a different outcome. The Magdalene Home offers the spiritual, medical, emotional and financial assistance that is so needed by a woman during her pregnancy. Life and job skills are also available to help the women get back on their feet after the birth, whether the mother decides to keep the child or place their child for adoption.
(1) See Rebecca M. Ryan, “Marital Birth and Early Child Outcomes: The Moderating Influence of Marriage Propensity,” Child Development 83.3 (May/June 2010).